The US should work with its partners to help Taiwan defend its freedom, US Senator Rick Scott told President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at a meeting yesterday.
The US and all other freedom-loving countries should work together to “make sure that Taiwan has the opportunity to decide their future, not have it decided by some foreigner,” said Scott, who is on a three-day visit to Taipei.
Scott, who took office as senator after his two terms as Florida governor ended in 2019, said the international community should continue working together to make sure Taiwan is well-positioned to defend its freedoms, referring to China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
He said that as a member of the US Senate committees on armed services and commerce, he remains committed to the freedoms and security of Taiwan.
He said that he also looked forward to meeting with Taiwanese officials and business leaders to discuss ways to increase bilateral trade.
Tsai said there is a need for “democratic partners to deepen cooperation” in light of several challenges facing the world in the past few years, including, the expansion of authoritarianism, the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Taiwan will continue to work closely with the US to jointly safeguard the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.
Taipei has policies to grow bilateral trade, she said, citing ongoing talks with Washington about the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade and a Taiwanese trade delegation that visited the US last month.
She thanked the Republican senator for twice in the past two years introducing a bill that would be crucial for the security of Taiwan, referring to the proposed Taiwan invasion prevention act.
Scott was the first US visitor to the Taiwan Representative Office in Lithuania and he exemplifies the partnership between the democracies, she added.
She hopes that Taiwan’s partnership with the US will become stronger and closer with Scott’s continued support, she said.
After the meeting, Scott told reporters he believes that “the world has changed” following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine.
“We all have to put ourselves in a position that we can make sure we defend the freedom we all believe in,” he said.
“I do think it would be helpful if Taiwan participated in RIMPAC and I hope that’s what happens in the future,” he said, referring to the Rim of the Pacific exercise, the world’s largest international maritime drills.
In the US-led format’s ongoing edition, 26 nations have since last month been participating in drills around Hawaii and southern California.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang and Reuters
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